I was baptized Reformed Calvinist as a baby, but became Anglican at 4 years old and grew up in all flavors of Anglican, from low-church Evangelical to Charismatic to high-church AngloCatholic. Throughout my childhood and young adult years, I have been an eyewitness to the long bitter war, in which orthodoxy lost and heresy triumphed— priests defrocked and their families hounded from their homes, churches forcibly shut down and property confiscated by priestesses (and an archbishopess) singing the praises of abortion, etc. And even in orthodox circles, as they retreated into small schismatic splinters…things have a tendency to get quite….strange. There was a high human cost to this war.
Anglicanism’s day is over. Between the agents of New Anti-Orthodoxy on the warpath, refugee schismatics’ peculiarities, delusions of grandeur and control, and old-moneyed cultural connoisseurs ….common faith is going extinct within the beautiful historic buildings which were once churches. Yes, there are decent parishes here and there, but they are getting to be as frequent as sightings of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker.
Most of my friends have swum the Tiber (or the Bosporus), and a few others have just gone back to the Protestants. I’ve been firmly stuck right outside the Roman Catholic Church for the past 5 years. I agree with 99% of their current Catechism, but to officially join at the Easter Vigil Service, I have to say, “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.”
It seems like a lie. I can’t get convinced of that last 1%. The two options I have been offered are (1) “aspiration of belief!”…just WANT to believe it and get in!, or (2) just submit your mind to The Church, stop thinking about it. Somehow…the first just seems to be a lie, making a joke out of Faith if it is just wishful thinking rather than Truth. And the second option…makes sense to many, I think Southern Baptists especially wouldn’t have a problem with it (because it is similar to Young Earth Creationism)….but I wasn’t raised to think that way….growing up in a hodgepodge environment of (frequently challenged) Reformed Theology and the hard sciences. I can’t do the just-stop-asking-what-is-really-True-just-submit thing. It would….break something inside me….somehow I would see it as a compromise of honesty…I can’t.
But is this worth it? Are my honesty/conscience/scruples worth this exile? This sitting in RC mass week after week watching others take and eat…this not really belonging anywhere…
What do I do now?